Gipsy Hill

All teachers at Gipsy Hill Federation are committed to ensuring that children make outstanding progress in Literacy. The New Curriculum 2014 has been tailored by our staff to provide engaging and creative opportunities for children to question, imagine and to reflect critically on their ideas and actions.

The curriculum encompasses several areas which develop children’s ability to read, write and organise their ideas orally.  A more in depth programme of study has been developed to teach children key skills in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. In line with the new guidance, key skills are now taught earlier, starting in KS1, objectives for grammar and spelling are more specific and the content is more advanced. Formative assessment is used to track progress and a range of interventions are available to support learners.


At Gipsy Hill Federation we believe that reading is the best gift that you could give your child. We have tailored a policy to support all children in their learning of reading and to inspire children to become life-long readers. One of the aims of English in the new National Curriculum is to ‘develop [pupils’] love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment’. This is to be achieved by ensuring that they ‘develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information’.

Click here to view our reading policy.

We provide the children with opportunities to:

  • Read daily using a wide range of text and genre, during whole class sessions and focused group reading sessions.
  • Participate in daily interactive phonics sessions which start in EYFS and continue through KS2.
  • Share and talk about stories to improve their comprehension skills and to help them make informed choices with their independent reading.
  • Read aloud to encourage expression and instil confidence.
  • Value books through reading regularly to children, attractive and user friendly book corners, highlighting different authors each month, celebrating World Book Day and a whole Federation themed Book Week.
  • Ensure reading skills are taught as children progress through the school to enable them to develop a critique of a range of literature and styles of writing.
  • Provide Reading Recovery intervention to help selected children make accelerated progress.

Spoken Language and Drama

Gipsy Hill Federation firmly believes that meaningful talk helps children make fantastic progress in both reading and writing, as well as other areas of the curriculum. Speaking and listening is essential in supporting children to develop and organise their ideas.  We also value drama, providing children with opportunities to grow in confidence and independence. It is not only an interesting and exciting subject, but a dynamic and exciting part of the Primary Curriculum. At Gipsy Hill Federation, we use drama across all our subjects in an innovative and kinaesthetic way, allowing children of all ages to tap into their creativity, explore new concepts and contribute to their imagination.

Children are given opportunities to:

  • Listen and respond to stories, poems and rhymes.
  • Retell stories and poems which are known by heart.
  • Participate in discussions and debates.
  • Discuss and evaluate their own work with peers and adults.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Justify actions and opinions.
  • Participate in planned drama sessions across the curriculum.
  • Orally compose before they write.
  • Experience theatre visits or watch visiting theatre groups perform at school.


Across the Federation, teachers strive to promote an engaging and creative writing environment.  Gipsy Hill Federation believes that great readers become great writers and so teachers choose extremely high quality and stimulating texts as a basis for writing. Quality first planning ensures children are challenged to become more confident and adventurous writers. Pupils become familiar with a range of text types and their features so that within these structures, children can begin the exploration of language and structure.  Once fully immersed in the story, the text becomes a tool to explore ideas about plot (such as alternative endings), characterisation, setting, themes or use of language.  Class discussions give a context to grammar and syntax, which subsequently helps to develop and enrich pupils’ own writing skills.  By exposing our children to a wide bank of stories, we are helping to generate interesting ideas from them.  Responses to these texts also produce strong speaking and listening skills including drama and oral story telling.

We provide children with a range of experiences and give opportunities to:

  • Relate writing to their own experiences.
  • Write across a range of narrative, non-fiction and poetry genres.
  • Develop a voice as a writer.
  • Discuss and reflect on their writing frequently.
  • See examples of good writing through shared and modelled writing.
  • Write in response to a range of stimuli, including music, film and real life experiences.
  • Present their writing in a variety of ways, including using Digital Literacy.
  • Develop Grammar and Punctuation skills through explicit teaching.
  • Regularly practice and improve their Handwriting.
  • Participate in interactive and kinaesthetic spelling sessions.
  • Improve their spelling through weekly tests on different spelling patterns and rules.
  • Use dictionaries and thesauruses to develop a broader vocabulary.

Children’s Independent Learning Opportunities

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    Click here to see ‘Hot Weather Warning’ alert from the Met Office. See below key public health messages: Cool yourself down: Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content Take a cool shower, bath or body wash Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck Stay out of the heat: Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and light scarf Avoid extreme physical exertion Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes Keep your environment cool: keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or who can’t look after themselves Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun, however, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C (Longer-term) Consider putting up external shading outside windows Use pale, reflective external paints Have your loft and cavity walls insulated – this keeps the heat in when it is cold and out when it is hot Grow trees and leafy plants near windows to act as natural air-conditioners Look out for others: Keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool Ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heat-wave Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed If you have a health problem: Keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging) Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications If you or others feel unwell: Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes. Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist

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